Two suspects are in custody Saturday after an attempted carjacking at a Roseburg Red Robin and a high-speed pursuit that continued to Grants Pass where Oregon State Police say a suspect fired a weapon several times, striking a commercial vehicle, a passenger vehicle with an occupied car seat and an Oregon State Police vehicle disabling it.
On Saturday at approximately 5:30 P.M. law enforcement personnel were called to the Red Robin Restaurant in Roseburg on the report of an attempted carjacking. The suspect or suspects were not able to steal the vehicle and fled in his original vehicle.
Roseburg Police Department arrested one suspect from this initial criminal act, who was left behind. He has been identified as Jose Lopez-Jovel, 31, from El Salvador. He has been lodged at the Douglas County Jail on warrants of fugitive from another state (Utah).
Law enforcement located the suspect vehicle and the vehicle attempted to elude southbound on Interstate 5.
The pursuit continued south into Josephine County were law enforcement lost sight of the suspect. The suspect attempted to carjack another vehicle near a residence on Pickett Creek Road in Josephine County. The male and female couple were arriving home when the suspect attempted to carjack them. The suspect shot the male and assaulted the female, but was unable to steal their car. The male victim was critically injured and his identity and status will be released at a later date.
Law enforcement again located the suspect vehicle and the driver again attempted to elude. The vehicle became disabled and the suspect was taken into custody.
Suspect has been identified as Matthew Anthony Fanelli, 30, of New Mexico. He has been lodged in the Josephine County Jail on multiple charges.
OSP and other law enforcement agencies soon discovered these two suspects were associated with a multi-state crime spree of violent criminal activity including a fatal carjacking in Colorado and a bank robbery in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The related criminal conduct appears to involve one or more persons of interest, so Oregon law enforcement is working with out-of-state and federal partners.
As a matter of precaution, citizens along the route of the vehicle chase and associated crime scenes should be vigilant of their surrounding area, hitchhikers, and securing of their property. Additionally, motorists traveling Interstate 5 during the vehicle pursuit, are requested to check their vehicles for evidence of firearm damage.
This is an ongoing investigation and more information will be released as it becomes available. Other than the carjacking victims in the Grants Pass Area, no additional injuries are reported.
Numerous agencies are involved, including the Roseburg Police Department, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Grants Pass Department of Public Safety and Josephine County Sheriff’s Office. The Federal Bureau of Investigations is also assisting.
Federal prosecutors say in charges filed Monday that 30-year-old Matthew Anthony Fanelli pulled a gun on a bank teller Friday and stole $2,000 before fleeing with 31-year-old Jose Lopez-Jovel. Prosecutors accuse 18-year-old Cynthia Sena of casing out the bank lobby under the guise of looking for a lost purse.
The three are charged with robbery and using a weapon during a crime.
Fanelli is suspected of fatally shooting a man in Denver. U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Melodie Rydalch says Fanelli is suspected of being in the United States illegally.
Anyone with any more information is asked to call the Oregon State Police Dispatch at 1-800-442-2068 and leave a request for contact from detectives working the case.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
The Coquille Indian Tribe is moving forward with plans to build a casino in Medford on Interstate 5, and the Cow Creek Tribe of Umpqua Band of Indians continues to oppose it.
Michael Rondeau, the CEO of the Cow Creek Tribe, has said the casino plans are “suspect from the start,” a project that “will forever change our landscape,” and that if the plan proceeds, “it will happen all over the state.”
“The people of Medford — and all Oregonians — should be alarmed,” Rondeau said in a press release issued last Tuesday. “This one project will forever change our landscape, paving the path for Las Vegas-size developments throughout Oregon, all without any consent or voice from the people who live here. Once this gate is opened, it will never be closed.”
The Coquille Tribe already operates the Mill Casino in North Bend, but has applied to the Bureau of Indian Affairs to build a second casino in south Medford near I-5 on 2.43 acres purchased in 2012.
The next closest casino is the second-highest grossing in the state: Seven Feathers Casino and Resort in Canyonville, owned by the Cow Creek Tribe.
The Cow Creek Tribe and several local and state representatives say the Coquille Tribe’s effort to build the new casino goes against the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.
“Gaming regulated by this chapter shall not be conducted on lands acquired by the secretary in trust for the benefit of an Indian tribe,” the act reads.
The plan calls for a Class II casino, which is not allowed to have card games, only bingo and other similar games. The Coquille Tribe’s business spokesman, Ray Doering, pointed to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which says the National Indian Gaming Commission regulates Class II gaming and authorizes compacts between tribes and states for the regulation of Class III gaming.
“In fact, the Coquille Tribe’s compact with the State of Oregon and signed by previous governors clearly states that the State has no jurisdiction over any Class II gaming conducted by the Tribe,” Doering said in an email.
The Medford casino would employ more than 200 people, about half as many as are employed at The Mill Casino.
“A significant number of our members are in Jackson County,” Doering said. “We saw an opportunity to do an economic development project.”
Of about 1,000 tribal members, approximately 100 of them live in Jackson County.
The Coquille Tribe signed a compact with the state of Oregon in 1995 agreeing on the terms to open a Class III casino. The compact allows the tribe to conduct Class III gaming on the Tribal trust land.
“Notwithstanding any provision of this Compact, any gaming activity classified by federal regulation as Class II activity shall not be subject to the provisions of the Compact,” the document reads.
Rondeau said he is concerned about the plans because the Coquille Tribe purchased or leased 45 acres around the proposed casino site, including the 2.43 acres the tribe requested be put into tribal trust.
“The Coquille Tribe is attempting to circumvent (Indian Gaming Regulatory Act) against the will of the state and the local communities and site a second casino ... 180 miles away from its reservation in Coos Bay,” Rondeau said in November.
For comparison, the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas sits on 74.17 acres according to the Clark County Assessor’s website. About 18 acres of the 45 acres owned or leased by the Coquille Tribe is the Bear Creek golf course that Doering said goes well with casino games.
“The Coquille Tribe’s casino plans have not changed, nor have they grown larger,” Doering said in an email. “The casino is still planned for the 2.4-acre site that is subject to the federal land-into-trust process. The remaining land is available for the development of other, non-casino, entertainment and hospitality options – not to build a Las Vegas-sized casino.”
Both tribes and government officials make frequent reference to a statewide “one tribe, one casino” policy followed by former Governor John Kitzhaber.
However, according to Politifact Oregon, that policy is not written into law, it was a personal policy Kitzhaber and his predecessors followed.
“My ‘one casino per tribe’ policy direction and the gaming compacts entered into between the State and the tribes provide support for the notion that, as a State, we have consistently attempted to strike a balance between tribal pursuit of economic enterprise and a check on the expansion of gambling in our State,” Kitzhaber wrote in a letter to the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 2013.
Doering said the compacts for Cow Creek, Warm Springs and Grand Ronde Tribes explicitly waive any rights the tribes may have to pursue a second casino, regardless of time frame, but he said the compact for the Coquille Tribe says it is limited to five years.
“At no time will more than one gaming facility be open to the general public under this compact,” according to the compact with the Coquille Tribe.
Doering said the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians opened a second casino, a class II facility, in North Bend.
It is approximately three miles from the Mill Casino and opened in 2015, three years after the Medford casino was proposed.
“This Compact shall not be amended unless ... The State becomes a party to another Tribal-State Compact that authorizes a tribe other than the Coquille Tribe of Indians to engage in any Class III gaming activity or scope of gaming activity not permitted under the terms of this Compact,” the compact reads.
Currently, there are nine federally-recognized tribes in the state and eight casinos with seven of them being Class III casinos.
The Cow Creek Tribe sent a letter to Deputy Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, John Tahsuda, asking for a meeting this week to urge the department not to allow the land be put into trust. The Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, Tara Sweeney will be the person who makes the decision.